The Environment Now programme announces £70,000 of funding for green tech projects


14 Jun 2017

The latest green tech projects funded by The Environment Now have been announced.

The grants programme, supported by O2’s Think Big in partnership with the National Youth Agency, offers funding, training, work experience and support to get young people’s green ideas off the ground. It is today (Wednesday 14 June) announcing seven projects worth £70,000.

The Environment Now programme is funded by O2 and the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and is part of the Our Bright Future programme. It is managed by the National Youth Agency.

The projects funded range from a mobile app that searches supermarkets for reduced price food on its sell by date to an air pollution reporting tool which aims to more accurately reflect health harming levels using digital technology.

Bill Eyres, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at O2 said, “At O2 we are inspired every day by young people’s great ideas.  These projects show how their creativity and inspiration coupled with the power of tech, enables young people to tackle global challenges. We are proud to support them.”

Paul Miller, CEO of the National Youth Agency said, “These projects show that tech is giving millennials the tools to tackle the environmental concerns they care so much about and bringing them to a new and wider audience. NYA is delighted to be supporting their innovation.”

Cath Hare, Programme Manager for Our Bright Future said, “We were bowled over by the passion and creativity shown during the pitches. I’m so excited to watch the projects develop and see these young people reach their potential within the green technology sector.”

The 7 projects are receiving £10,000 funding each plus a range of support over 10 months, helping them develop their ideas, confidence and skills with the aim of empowering them to become sustainability leaders of the future. The projects comprise:

Yellow Label – Sam Patchitt

YellowLabel will be a mobile app that aims to prevent food waste in retail. Supermarkets reduce the price of items that have a short shelf life, and a majority of stores gives these items a “Yellow Label”. This project will advertise these items through a mobile app. Users will be able to log on, to find any reduced price food in their local area via a map.

Huxlo – Matthew Mew

Huxlo aims to produce digitally designed, openly shared, locally made and community assembled buildings. The mission is to democratise building design by providing accessible design tools and supplying a sustainable construction kit.

Digital design allows every building to be designed as code; instantly customised to its site and user, whilst keeping control over costs. Open design is the development of physical products, through use of publicly shared design information. The process is facilitated by Huxlo’s 3D sandbox design tool with architectural designs publicly shared on the Huxlo website. Huxlo uses locally sourced, sustainable materials which can be assembled without heavy machinery.

POW – Mohammed Shah

POW wants to make ebikes cheap and hassle free by providing retrofitting, insurance, maintenance and battery replacements for a monthly fee of £35pm, just like a phone bill. A customer would bring their bike to POW who would convert it to an electric bike and then keep it maintained. The SmartRack will diagnose and report the health of the battery back to the team for analysis so that replacement batteries can be given quickly. The SmartRack will also house all of the controllers, the charging electronics, high quality lights and a locking mechanism for added security.

ACELERON – David Dawood

ACELERON is bringing sustainable power to people by reusing laptop lithium batteries to create power packs for mobile devices. They will use testing algorithms to identify batteries safe to reuse and then CAD software to design battery packaging. Batteries will be collected by an e-waste management company and sent on to ACELERON, where they are transformed into a handy product. This effectively decreases the amount of useful e-waste that is shredded and recycled.

Operation Sawdust – Rebecca Illingworth

Operation sawdust addresses the issue of sawdust waste in the timber industry and resourceful fuel to heat homes and businesses. Their aim is to use existing technology in the manufacturing of sawdust briquettes to develop a library scheme which will make this machinery accessible to smaller woodlands, social enterprises and factories. Saw dust briquettes can be used in log burning stoves and reduce the need to cut down trees. Digital technology will be used to monitor burning rates of briquettes, pollutants emitted and the number of trees saved.

Breathing Space – Omar Durrani

Air pollution harms our health. Breathing Spaces hopes to build on a community “Citizen Science” initiative that will uncover systematic under-reporting of pollution in residential areas, with direct consequences for the environment and health. By going “digital”; combining Crowd Sourcing and Google Streetview they hope to examine every DEFRA-registered NO2 detector across the UK, and ensure that pollution is being properly reported.

OrchGardJoshua Dean

OrchGard will be a community digital orchard/garden that will use the latest technology to keep the fully automated orchard as productive as possible. The Orchgard will be based at the YMCA Humber in Grimsby. The project aims to increase social cohesion as well as create awareness for the environment through shared medium of digital technologies.

For more information, please visit https://gothinkbig.co.uk/features/the-environment-now